Can I leave my dog alone ?
You really want to adopt a dog, but you have a job that takes up a lot of your time and you are not sure that the time you can devote to your new four-legged friend will be enough. Known to be a very social animal, can you leave your dog alone? How long can a dog stay home alone? How do you leave your dog home alone? If you have to go away for the day or the weekend, it is advisable to prepare this absence well to leave your puppy or dog alone. Discover the information and advices to leave your dog alone at home in good conditions and to avoid that he makes mischief.
1- How long should I leave my dog home alone ?
Dogs are animals that don’t like to be left alone. Therefore, it is important to educate your dog and prepare him to stay alone at home during a working day. You also need to adapt the environment for the dog, whether it’s leaving toys for him to play with or securing some of the things you care about. Of course, you’ll need to provide food, water and a litter box for him to relieve himself.
The key to success in teaching your dog to stay home alone is to educate him little by little. This way, your dog will get used to being away from home for longer and longer periods of time and will not become anxious. In any case, the maximum duration of your absence should not exceed 8 to 10 hours for an adult dog. For a puppy, it is advised not to leave your puppy alone for more than 2 to 3 hours.
2- The dog’s sociability
Whatever your lifestyle, if you choose to adopt a dog, you’ll have to make sure that you don’t stress him by coming and going. Indeed, unlike a cat, which would adapt relatively easily to the absence of its master, a dog is a sociable animal, whose well-being – both material and emotional – will depend essentially on the time you spend together. And this, not only because you are the one who provides for all his needs – walking, feeding, even playing – but also because, purely and simply, your company is an integral part of your dog’s existence!
This nuance is important to understand your dog’s need for sociability: for example, don’t imagine that having a garden, where your dog can frolic while waiting for your return, will make him better able to bear the separation. To leave your dog alone with peace of mind, you will have to educate your four-legged friend, giving him enough cues to avoid stressing him.
3- Leaving your dog alone through education
To teach a dog to stay on its own, it’s best to do it while it’s still a puppy, but with all the necessary precautions. Indeed, when you adopt a dog that is a few months old, or even a few weeks old, you are, in a way, taking the place of his mother. To leave your dog alone, it is important not to traumatize the animal by a too brutal detachment. Proceed gradually, starting with “absences” of no more than 5 minutes and gradually increasing this duration, depending on your dog’s reactions.
Before you leave, you can introduce him to a toy (such as a chew ball), which will eventually provide him with a way to pass the time when you’re not around. Gradually establish a routine with your dog so that he can anticipate the times you won’t be around. Like a baby, your puppy needs to develop habits that he can hold on to whenever you’re away, and that will eventually form his daily routine.
4- Passing the baton
If the house is empty for three quarters of the day, unless you can rearrange your schedule, you should think about who can take care of the pet so that you don’t leave your dog alone all the time. You can choose to leave him with a relative – if your parents live nearby, they might be happy to take in your dog – or you can pay someone to spend time with the animal.
Between students looking for a job between classes and animal lovers, you probably won’t have too much trouble finding a dog-sitter. Before you give your dog to a dog sitter, however, take the time to make introductions (it may take several meetings before the pet trusts its new guardian) and to explain what you want from the pet. Give precise instructions on feeding and caring for your dog, and make sure your dog’s habits are respected.
5- Cultivate a relationship with your dog
The rest of the time, make sure you cultivate a bond with your dog by reserving special moments for him. He will certainly celebrate when you come home in the evening, after your day’s work: even if you are tired, in a hurry to take a shower or to sit at the table, give him all the attention he wants. In the same way, in the morning before leaving, establish a sort of ritual, by letting him accompany you to the gate, for example, or by allowing him to lie at your feet while you have breakfast. On weekends and vacations, avoid leaving your dog at home. When you go shopping, take him with you (if he is not welcome in the stores you are going to, he can wait in the car).
As a general rule, don’t be stingy with hugs. You can be sure that your little friend will give you back a hundredfold if you are able to take good care of him!
Finally, when choosing the dog you’re going to adopt, take your schedule into account by opting for a breed with a more independent temperament than the average dog, such as a terrier or a barzoi.